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DOE Lab takes over Cold Climate Housing Research Center

Cold Climate Housing Research Center

A US Department of Energy-funded laboratory is partnering with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks. The DOE’s non-profit National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado has leased CCHRC’s facility and hired its 19 person staff.

Describing it as a marriage, CCHRC founder and CEO Jack Hebert says the relationship will help recover the 20-year-old non-profit organization from recent year’s state funding cuts.

"Gives us the resources and the strength of the national lab, which is supported by DOE, to further our mission and continue our  mission that we've been doing for the people of Alaska and the Circumpolar North.”

Hebert credits Senator Lisa Murkowski with helping forward the new partnership, noting that the CCHRC has long worked with the Department of Energy and its labs, stressing that the center will continue to do the same Alaska based housing and energy research, design and testing it always has, plus more. 

"Some really interesting research related to a project we call the New Igoo, which is a high-performance structure that is easily transportable and can address homelessness, affordability for first-time homebuyers and those kind of things in a high-performance healthy home. So, that's a big emphasis of the work we are doing this next year.”

Hebert says the energy lab partnership and new grant opportunities it opens, are expected to grow the Cold Climate Housing Research Center operation.

"We really see the CCHRC providing twice as many jobs as we hae currently, over the next couple of years. They're good jobs, research jobs, but it is truly applied research like we have done in the past. This just isn't going to be research you put on a shelf, it's research you can open the door and walk into.”

According to the DOE, the partnership with the CCHRC is part of an overarching mission related to the Arctic, coordinated by the agency’s newly re-established Arctic Energy Office.

Dan has been in public radio news in Alaska since 1993. He’s worked as a reporter, newscaster and talk show host at stations in McGrath, Valdez and Fairbanks. Dan’s experience includes coverage of a wide range of topics, from wolf control to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and dog mushing.